What does COBRA stand for? Boris to have key Russia vs Ukraine meeting today

Russia: Boris Johnson predicts 'full-scale invasion' of Ukraine

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Tensions are rising between Russia and the West as Russia sent tanks and troops across the Ukraine borders last night, signalling an invasion. This comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin formally recognised two Russian-backed separatist-controlled regions, Luhansk and Donetsk, in Ukraine.

Tensions initially began when Ukraine expressed aspirations to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the military alliance formed after World War Two in the West, which had initial intentions to counter the threat of a post-war Russian expansion in Europe.

Mr Putin demanded NATO not extend to Ukraine or any more former Soviet countries due to concerns that a military and political alliance could be formed against Russia.

However, the US and its allies refuse to ban Ukraine from NATO stating that as a sovereign nation, it should be free to decide on its own security alliances.

Now, as Russian troops have been deployed into the two breakaway regions of Eastern Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called an emergency COBRA meeting this morning to agree on a “significant package of sanctions against Russia”.

Boris Johnson says the UK’s sanctions will hit the “economic interests that have been supporting Russia’s war machine”.

Tensions initially began when Ukraine expressed aspirations to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the military alliance formed after World War Two in the West, which had initial intentions to counter the threat of a post-war Russian expansion in Europe.

Mr Putin demanded NATO not extend to Ukraine or any more former Soviet countries due to concerns that a military and political alliance could be formed against Russia.

However, the US and its allies refuse to ban Ukraine from NATO stating that as a sovereign nation, it should be free to decide on its own security alliances.

Now, as Russian troops have been deployed into the two breakaway regions of Eastern Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called an emergency COBRA meeting this morning to agree on a “significant package of sanctions against Russia”.

What does COBRA stand for?

COBRA is shorthand for the Civil Contingencies Committee.

The committee comes together to coordinate actions from the government to respond and handle national or regional emergencies and disruptions, including overseas events with major implications for the UK.

COBRA’s purpose is to “keep ministers appraised of a situation, to ensure that the wider response of the government is coordinated, to record and disseminate key decisions and updates to all relevant ministers and officials, and to provide ministers and the prime minister with up to date information on the situation for any decisions that they may need to make.”

Who sits on COBRA meetings?

Depending on the situation at hand, a mix of officials and agency personnel, alongside ministers from relevant departments and agencies will sit in on the meetings.

They are often chaired by the most senior minister in the room.

The Prime Minister is expected to give a statement to Parliament at 12.30pm GMT to reveal the “first barrage of UK economic sanctions against Russia”.

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